Design Team Dynamics

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

DDIS Weeks 5-6: Task Management

Probably the thing that struck me the most about these readings were the need to really establish good rapport with other members of the group. Trust plays a major role in all this, and to build trust one must first build familiarity with one another. It is therefore important to spend some time in a group just allowing group members to get to know each other a little better. By building trust, a team will work much more effectively as a whole as team members who trust one another will keep an open line of communication which will help maintain clarity of goals among team members.

Looking at the two articles on virtual teams brings the issue of interpersonal communication to the forefront. In such teams you don’t have the advantage of being able to easily communicate with your team members face to face so a much greater effort must be made toward establishing clear communication between team members. This rather extreme situation of group structure reveals how important clarity is to managing a group and assigning tasks. It’s important that all group members have a shared set of goals that are communicated to all members of a team. Assumptions made by individual team members can be dangerous in this case, because they run the risk of having team members develop different assumptions for completing a task and thus can cause the team to pursue different, disjoint goals.

One other thing that I found interesting was the way group effectiveness is defined. When we think about group effectiveness, we usually think of the end product or deliverable of the group. However, group effectiveness has other indicators as well, such as how well group members will be able to work together in the future and whether or not the members grow or learn through working in this group. The effectiveness of the group, thus, is largely related to the well-being of the individual group members as well as the interpersonal relations of these people. A group that learns to work well together will be equally or even more productive in future group projects and will learn more which then can contribute to future projects as well.


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